ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is not ready to give up just yet.
Holliday hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and the Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 Monday night, staying in the NL Central race for at least one more day.
A Cardinals loss would have clinched the division for Cincinnati. The Reds were idle, and their magic number remained at one going into Tuesday night's home game against Houston.
Holliday is aware that the Cardinals must be perfect the rest of the way. And the Reds must lose their remaining six games - just to force a one-game playoff for the NL Central title. Still, he is not giving up despite the astronomical odds stacked against his club.
``Anything is possible,' he said. ``We've just got to keep playing.'
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa says it is important for his team to continue to work hard.
``What's meaningful is looking in the mirror and seeing that we took our best shot,' he said.
Holliday delivered the key hit on Monday, a two-run shot in the sixth inning that tied the game at 4. His 28th homer of the season came off starter Charlie Morton, who allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings.
``It was a stupid pitch,' Morton said. ``I wanted it a little more inside. I wanted him to pull it foul.'
St. Louis scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Rookie catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who had a career-high three hits, came in when Cedeno threw wildly to first on a grounder by Allen Craig.
``He makes that play more times than not,' Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. ``It's unfortunate. It's tough to give up runs like that.'
St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols had two hits and got his NL-leading 117th RBI with a single in the third.
Pagnozzi, the nephew of former St. Louis catcher Tom Pagnozzi, became the fifth St. Louis rookie to have three hits in a game this season following Craig, Jon Jay, David Freese and Daniel Descalso.
Pagnozzi posted his second successive multi-hit game and pushed his average from .188 to .333 in the past 48 hours.
``Offense has been a work in progress for me throughout my career,' he said. ``The more I play, the more things I learn.'
Pedro Alvarez homered in going 3 for 3 and driving in two runs for the Pirates. He connected in the second and extended his hitting streak to seven games, during which he's 13 for 27 with 15 RBIs.
Dennys Reyes (3-1) picked up the win with one scoreless inning in relief of starter Kyle Lohse, who allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings. Kyle McClellan got his second save in three chances with a scoreless ninth.
Sean Gallagher (2-1) took the loss in relief.
Notes: Former St. Louis Rams WR Isaac Bruce threw out the first pitch on Monday. ... Morton got his first hit of the season, a single up the middle in the sixth inning. He was 0 for 23. ... Holliday leads the NL with 50 two-out RBI. ... The Cardinals are 46-49 against teams under .500. ... The Pirates fell to 15-60 on the road. ... Pujols has led the team in hitting each of his first nine seasons in the league.
The Associated Press News Service
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